‘real food’ and how I learned to love weights

This post is dated circa Fall 2012. Guess I never got to publishing it. Well here it is.

It’s been a while since I posted but a lot has been happening in the workout/nutrition/diet part of my life. Let me update on each and finish with a nice little speed workout I made up for myself on the treadmill.

‘Real Food’

In the last year or so I’d begun changing the way I ate and I saw dramatic results. In the last few weeks I’ve changed that completely and while I don’t know what to attribute the results to, but something is working and it works well. So back in the day, when I started running, I ran a lot, ate a lot, didn’t lose much weight. Then I went to Brazil and for one, I ran a lot but much shorter distances so I ran fast and less. I also began to watch what I ate. Importantly my diet in Brazil actually became quite high in protein relative to carbs (and I watched the fat intake as well). I ate a ton of fruits but not much veggies (not good). I lost about 10 lbs after I got back. I continued watching what I ate but back home, living with a vegetarian husband, my diet went back to being sort of carb-heavy – not heavy but it was there. And then I began talking to some friends about food. It changed the way I thought about food. First, I stopped eating at the point I felt full. That immensely made my GI issues a lot better. Additionally I began watching what gave me GI distress. I’ve been dealing with post meal tummy aches for a while and it was beginning to annoy me.

My friend Kanika introduced me to this blog. This guy writes about ‘real food’ versus processed food. And in the realm of processed foods lies the whole grain myth, along with legumes etc. So I decided to give it a shot. I watched how I felt every time I ate whole wheat/legumes and I decidedly had some stomach cramps. So I cut it down immensely. So far so good. I still wonder how it will be when I get back to training long distance again but we’ll see then how to deal with then when we get to it. I highly recommend checking the blog out about a lot of interesting myths about what’s healthy what’s not. My basic takeaway which makes sense to me is that it’s not fats that make us fat. Its carbs/sugar. So even when you think fried food, it’s fried carbs that kill you not the fat per se. Sure you can eat fat but not unlimited but fat’s not the bad guy. So far, whatever I’ve been doing is making me feel a LOT better about my GI issues and overall health.

So instead of granola/cereal for breakfast, we’ve turned to having fruit/veggie smoothies and 2 eggs. At lunch I’ll prefer salads or even vegetables/meat with a little helping of rice. Brown rice turns out is low bioavailability of nutrients, so I’ve turned to soaking it overnight and then grinding to dosa batter with soaked lentils and fermenting the batter to make dosas. It tastes awesome and it feels better. Gone are chapatis and other whole grains (unless I have the time to soak/ferment well). Definitely gone are daals and lentils to a major extent. Oh and I eat FULL FAT everything. Full fat yogurt, whole milk, don’t shy from cheese and dairy, I cook in butter/ghee. And 5 months later I am no fatter (neither is my husband), our BP/lipids are great – healthier than ever.

So remember: low fat is bull-shit, low-carb/full-fat/high protein is the way to go!

Weights

I’ve never understood why people did weights. I found weight training boring and uninspiring. Where is that runner’s high? But since the diet change and thinking that yes, I’ve been a runner a while but where is that dramatic impact on my body? My legs look awesome but I still needed to work on ‘problem parts’ – belly, arms, hips etc. So I met Hena. She’s a UT grad student who is to say one of the hottest South Asian girls I’ve met. I must admit I had a girly crush on her for a bit. Went to the gym with her a couple of times and she showed me some very specific routines. Somehow once school started Hena disappeared into her schedule but all through fall I kept up with that routine. And oh boy, now I know why people love weights. I saw results within weeks. The workouts were never longer than 30-40 minutes. I combined it with short runs here and there as well as yoga (power/hatha etc.) and the results were drastic. I went to India on vacation and the only people who thought I looked unhealthy were my parents (they wanted their tubby daughter back). Even if I didn’t exercise a lot, as long as I watched what I ate, I was easily able to maintain my energy and body weight at about 110 lbs and body fat ratio at less than 15% (yeah I got one of those cool scales).

So my lesson from this – it’s not how long or much you run, it’s about 80% what you eat and 20% light to short intensity workouts that help. Since that works really well with a busy work life, it keeps me happy and healthy (and hot).

me-Sept12

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